Monday, 26 October 2015 11:15

TRUMPF Announces New Metal 3D printers

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Laser manufacturer TRUMPF has established a broad base in the field of additive manufacturing. The company will be presenting new 3D printing machines for metal parts at the Formnext trade fair, to be held in Frankfurt this year from November 17 to 20. Both laser metal fusion (LMF) and laser metal deposition (LMD) machines will be on display. Both of these crucial metalworking technologies are included in the new TRUMPF product range. To achieve this, the company has established a new division at the headquarters site in Ditzingen and has been working even more intensively on new systems for 3D printing. The results and developments derived from the joint venture founded together with Italy's largest laser system maker, the Sisma company, have supported the efforts carried out by TRUMPF in Ditzingen. The technology behind the new 3D printers is also known as additive manufacturing. In this process component parts are generated, layer by layer, from metal powders. The system uses data taken directly from the CAD program.

"The introduction of these new 3D printers is an essential first step, since additive manufacturing will not only supplement production techniques in the future, but will also exert a formative influence on them," explains Dr.-Ing. E.h. Peter Leibinger, Head of TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH. "We will be offering rugged and highly productive machinery with which small and medium-sized parts incorporating complex structures can be manufactured," Leibinger adds.

Market demand is growing for 3D printers generating metal components suitable for use in the industrial environment. TRUMPF is the world's only manufacturer to have both of the pertinent technologies - LMF and LMD - in its product range. The choice of the process best suited will depend on the details of the specific application. LMF systems generate parts layer by layer in a bed of powder. These printers bring their strengths to bear when making up parts which are geometrically complicated and extremely elaborate. In LMD systems, the laser creates a melted pool on the surface of a part and fuses the powder, added simultaneously in a powder stream, to achieve the desired shape. LMD systems are distinguished by the fact that they can add closely defined structures to existing tools and components, doing so at high processing speed.

"LMF and LMD are the two leading technologies in the additive manufacture of metal parts - and we have them both," states Peter Leibinger. He then adds: "Our customers procure not only the machine and the laser from a single source but - in addition to extensive service support - intensive technology and applications consulting, too. No matter whether you are dealing with injection nozzles, turbine blades, tools or even medical implants - with our broad range of technology we are offering the best solution for virtually every application."

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TRUMPF has agreed on a joint venture in the additive manufacturing sector. The partner is Italy's biggest laser manufacturer SISMA S.p.A., which has a 45-percent stake in the new enterprise while TRUMPF has a 55-percent interest. Both partners are bringing expertise, human resources and capital to the joint venture. TRUMPF SISMA S.r.l. is based in Piovene Rocchette near Vicenza, Italy. There, TRUMPF and SISMA plan to co-develop latest-generation production systems for the 3D printing of metal components.

The technology known as 'additive manufacturing' enables any component to be built up directly from a 3D design program. The parts are created layer by layer from metallic powder, using the power of the laser. The technology has the potential of partially replacing methods such as milling or casting. The components are just as durable and long-lasting as their conventionally produced counterparts.

Today, companies from the most diverse sectors are qualifying components and products suited to additive manufacturing rather than the conventional methods utilized until now. To offer solutions here, TRUMPF is working on rapid entry into this market - at its headquarters in Ditzingen as well as together with SISMA. The two joint venture partners, with their high level of expertise in laser and mechanical engineering, want to provide robust and productive machines for mass production. "Many machines on the market today are aimed more at prototype construction," explains Dr. Peter Leibinger, head of TRUMPF Laser Technology. "In the future, however, the most important criterion where additive manufacturing lines are concerned will be their suitability for industrial applications."

Several years ago SISMA did begin work on developing an additive manufacturing machine for the production of small metallic components - and the Italian company is bringing this expertise to the joint venture. With annual sales of 33 million Euro and around 1000 laser devices sold each year, SISMA is the biggest laser manufacturer in Italy. The company has around 130 employees and can look back on over 50 years of experience in precision mechanics and industrial automation. The target markets of the innovative laser and systems supplier are primarily jewelry, fashion, dental and industry.

TRUMPF entered the additive manufacturing sector as a pioneer back in the year 2000. The "TrumaForm" - a universal tool for the generative manufacturing of metallic materials - was, however, years ahead of its time because the market for serial production of components had not yet developed. At the start of this year TRUMPF entered the additive manufacturing business once again, and is now benefiting from the results of earlier development work as well as from its ever increasing expertise in the related process of laser deposition welding, which is already being used today in all kinds of sectors for repair and coating applications.

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Laser material processing is an excellent choice if you are looking for a manufacturing process that is resource-efficient and cost-effective. Simply adjust the process parameters to match the specific material and application and the result is an extremely stable and reproducible laser process which offers consistently high processing quality and precision – whatever the batch size. Laser processing is a highly accurate, non-contact solution which minimizes the thermal and mechanical stresses on the material, thereby reducing or even eliminating the need for rework or further processing. In fact, laser material processing offers clear advantages along the entire process chain – from cutting and welding to the marking of finished parts.

The TruLaser Station 3003 is a superb example of how to make a laser system flexible, economical and ergonomic. When it comes to welding delicate, temperature-sensitive parts such as those used in electronics manufacturing, the TruLaser Station 3003 is an excellent choice to combine with a pulsed laser. This combination is typically used for spot welding, in which parts are joined together into complete assemblies by means of a series of individual weld spots. Very little heat is introduced in this process, so distortion is kept to an absolute minimum. This is just one of the advantages of using programmable focusing optics and a laser light cable for beam guidance. Thanks to the integrated scanner optics, it is not necessary to move either the workpiece or the optics during processing. Pulsed lasers which incorporate a ‘burst function’ work even faster than standard solutions – for example, TruPulse lasers weld electrical contacts to switches three times faster than comparable pulsed lasers without a burst function. To do this, TruPulse lasers can increase their average power briefly, using the workpiece transfer time to recharge their stored energy. The result is a reduction in welding time and a shorter overall processing cycle. The TruLaser Station 3003 is a versatile system that is also suitable for larger parts. Despite its compact dimensions of 860 x 2,000 x 1,310 mm, the laser workstation has a large working range of 300 x 300 x 500 mm. Its automatic doors with programmable opening height provide a fast and ergonomic solution for workpiece loading. Flexibility is also a feature when it comes to choosing a beam source – the TruLaser Station 3003 can be combined with disk, diode or fiber lasers up to an output of 1,000 watts.

Whatever type of parts you are manufacturing, the ability to trace individual parts is a requirement that affects many different industries. This is where laser marking offers some major benefits. TRUMPF marking lasers can be used to label all standard materials – from sheet metal to plastic and glass. TRUMPF offers marking lasers in the wavelengths 1064 nanometers (infrared), 532 nanometers (green) and 355 nanometers (ultraviolet). These are available in various power ranges to cater to the requirements of different marking applications. Unlike adhesive labels, laser marking produces inscriptions that stand the test of time, offering results that can still be read even after the part has been delivered to the customer. To make it even easier to use its marking lasers, TRUMPF has become the first laser manufacturer to introduce a method of directly connecting a marking laser to the SAP environment via a standard interface. The connection is established using the driver interface for printers included in the SAP® Printer Vendor program. The marking laser takes on the role of a printer, making laser marking as easy as printing. The marking software package includes the laser parameters required for a wide range of materials.

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Friday, 18 November 2011 13:10

40 years of lasers at TRUMPF

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From the laser-cut filter in your coffee machine to the laser-labeled dashboard in your car and the laser-welded battery in your mobile phone, nowadays lasers are – directly or indirectly – an essential tool in the manufacture of every kind of consumer product. And TRUMPF played a decisive role in this turn of events by being the first company to introduce lasers to many industrial applications. From their very first use in welding mainsprings for watches, through high-quality cutting – of materials ranging from extremely thin foils to sheets of metal centimeters thick – to the employment of ultra-modern direct diode lasers, the industrial laser owes its success in large part to TRUMPF – and it has done so for the last 40 years.

This is how Peter Leibinger, head of TRUMPF’s Laser Technology Division, describes it: “Our goal as a laser manufacturer is to be the first to make cutting-edge technology available for use in manufacturing. We transform the latest research developments into mature products that are suitable for industry.” Mathis Kammüller, head of TRUMPF’s Machine Tool Division and, like Leibinger, a member of the TRUMPF Group’s Management Board, adds: “Laser systems are universal tools that can be used again and again in a huge variety of processes. We offer the right laser in the appropriate machine for each and every application.”

TRUMPF has provided numerous such machines to the growing market for laser processing. The first, in 1979, was a combined punch/laser machine equipped with 500 and 700 watt CO2 lasers that at that time the company still sourced externally. Eight years earlier, watch manufacturer Carl Haas, based in the little town of Schramberg in the Black Forest, had already recognized the suitability of lasers for precision watchmaking applications and built the first solid-state laser. Since Haas is now part of TRUMPF, this marks the beginning of our company’s laser era.

In the decades that followed, both CO2 and solid-state lasers experienced rapid developments. The year 1985 was a milestone for both technologies, since it was then that TRUMPF became a laser manufacturer in its own right with the development and production of the TLF 1000 CO2 laser, and it was also the year that Haas introduced the first laser light cable for industrial use. Just two years later, TRUMPF brought out the TRUMATIC L 3000, the first flatbed laser machine with flying optics, where the machine table stays still while the cutting head “flies” across the sheet metal.

The year 1995 can be regarded as another hallmark. This was when TRUMPF not only expanded its products’ capabilities to include processes such as laser welding and tube cutting, but also for the first time employed a solid-state laser to process thin steel sheets in the TRUMATIC LY 2500 flatbed cutting machine – the forerunner of today’s hugely successful “fiber” machines, which began to conquer the market in 2008 with the integration of the latest TruDisk disk lasers.

Today, there are around 20,000 TRUMPF CO2 lasers and 15,000 of our solid-state lasers in use around the world. While the CO2 lasers continue to dominate the market for flatbed laser machines, there is a growing demand for our range of machines with fiber-guided solid-state lasers, as these lasers complement each other perfectly. Taking an automotive analogy, the CO2 cutting machine is a versatile off-road vehicle, which, thanks to up to 8 kilowatts of power is capable of high-quality steel cutting for sheet thicknesses from 0.5 to more than 30 millimeters – making it ideal for negotiating the rally challenge of quick design changes and short product runs that defines the workload of many suppliers. Solid-state laser machines, on the other hand, are like racing cars in that they can get up to incredible speeds on certain “surfaces”: in this case thin sheet metals – even copper or brass. They can handle thicker materials, too; indeed, their results on mild steel are comparable to those of a CO2 laser. But when used to process stainless steel, cut quality deteriorates relatively quickly – meaning these lasers prefer a racetrack of sheet metal that is no more than 5 millimeters thick.

“Lasers as a tool are still in their youth – even now, 50 years after the first laser was fired up and 40 years since they began to cut their teeth in an industrial setting at TRUMPF,” says Peter Leibinger. “People are still constantly coming up with new applications for both CO2 and solid-state lasers. Some, such as the cutting of glass display covers for mobile phones, benefit from the speed of laser processing, while others, such as the cutting of lightweight materials, would simply not be possible without lasers.”

With sales totaling US $ 2.761 billion (€ 2.024 billion) and 8,550 employees, the TRUMPF Group ranks among the leading manufacturing companies worldwide. The three following business divisions are combined under the umbrella of a holding company: Machine Tools/Power Tools, Laser Technology/Electronics and Medical Technology. Its core business is machine tools for flexible sheet metal processing for punching and forming, laser processing and bending. In the field of industrial lasers and laser systems, the company is the technological leader in the world market. With about 60 subsidiaries and branch offices, the Group is represented in almost every European country, in North and South America as well as in Asia. Production locations can be found in Germany, Austria, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland and the USA.

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Monday, 26 September 2011 12:14

TRUMPF Showcases the Power of Choice

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TRUMPF's lineup at LME 2011-the LIA's Lasers for Manufacturing Event, September 27 - 28, 2011, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in Schaumburg, Illinois, highlights the company's latest innovations in laser technology.

Recognizing that there is no "one size fits all" in industrial lasers, TRUMPF puts the power of choice in its customers' hands and will display its full range of laser technologies in an all-encompassing display illustrating the many laser technologies available, including TruFlow and TruCoax components from TRUMPF's CO2 laser portfolio as well as solid-state laser components from TruDiode, TruFiber, TruDisk, TruPulse, TruMicro; and TruMark laser markers.

Optimization of diverse applications requires different laser technologies and TRUMPF offers the largest application and service network in the world as well as the broadest industrial portfolio of any manufacturer.

In addition, during the show TRUMPF experts will present on two topics in the TRUMPF Laser Technology Showcase, Theatre 1:

* Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m., recent developments in disk laser technology in the femtosecond and picosecond range
* Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 1:50 p.m., remote laser welding.

TRUMPF is one of the world's largest producers of fabricating machinery and a world market leader in lasers used for industrial production technology.

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Wednesday, 21 September 2011 13:10

Extended service life with the laser

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Resource conservation has become a megatrend - triggered by rising energy prices and the increasing scarcity of raw materials. For industrial processing, that means state-of-the-art production must be as efficient and automated as possible in order to save energy and raw materials, and cut processing time. But overall energy consumption can also be reduced by extending the lifecycle of components - something that is possible through the use of innovative laser-based production methods. That is why TRUMPF will be showcasing laser deposition welding at the EMO as a manufacturing method for wear protection, repairs and prototyping which reduces the usage of materials and energy.

Laser deposition welding as a hard-wearing, reliable solution
Laser deposition welding involves the use of a laser beam to create a molten pool on the component surface, into which a filler material is continually added and melted. Substrate and filler material are combined, producing a melt-metallurgical connection between the layer and the carrier component. Overlapping multiple tracks gives rise to a dense, even layer with defined properties. Compared with conventional techniques, the laser offers several advantages during deposition welding: it only works in the direct vicinity of the weld location. Only a few millimeters away, the rest of the workpiece remains virtually cold. This means intricate shapes can be deposited without any penetration or distortion. The laser can also reach places that are difficult to access, such as internal edges or deep holes.

Protection for deep-drawing tool subject to extreme stresses
Two applications for laser deposition welding can be seen at the EMO. A deep-drawing tool used in automotive manufacturing shows how effectively laser deposition welding can protect surfaces against wear and tear. This heavy-duty tool is used for hot-forming and press-hardening elements such as the B-pillars on bodyshells. In the case of press-hardening, the components need to be quenched; this is done by cooling the tool. The more efficient the cooling, the shorter the cycle time. With this deep-drawing tool, pipes are integrated in globular gray cast iron. The advantage is that the pipes can be routed close to the tool surface. The disadvantage is that the cast iron is very soft. Hence the tool needs to be armored with a hard wear layer.

Following forming, the components are so hard that they substantially improve the safety of the passenger cell. The hard deposition-welded protective layer ensures long tool life. This cooling technique reduces the cycle time of a component by up to 35 percent.

Extended lifecycle for turbines
A repair-welded turbine blade made of titanium demonstrates that laser machining can contribute substantially to extending the lifecycle of components. Components such as compressor and turbine blades are subjected to wear and must be replaced at regular intervals. A targeted, specific repair using deposition welding reliably repairs the components, obviating the need to remanufacture these complex components as part of a time-consuming, resource-intensive process. Cost savings of up to 75 percent can be achieved compared with manufacturing new parts, and the resulting CO2 emissions are much lower. At the end of this process, the surface properties of the repaired turbines are identical to those of a new part.

TruLaser Tube delivers flexible, cost-effective solution
Laser-compatible design is often the key factor in substantially reducing the time, raw materials and costs involved in manufacture. TRUMPF will be demonstrating such design features at the EMO on the basis of a tubular folding bed: the tubes are designed in such a way that they can be formed and welded with minimal effort. Using a laser for tubular designs enables new designs to be created. For instance, specific recesses in the corners for bent edge joints help produce rounded corners in a rectangular tube, thus simplifying subsequent manufacturing stages. The forces for the subsequent bending are kept low and the weld joints reduced to a minimum. A laser tube cutting machine is used to add these recesses quickly and, more importantly, automatically. And since it operates without contact, the laser also produces no distortions in cutting out the keyhole-shaped holes to attach the supporting fabric.

High-tech for the tubes on a folding bed
The folding bed exhibited at the EMO is cut on an automated production line on a TruLaser Tube, automatically picked up by a robot, and then transferred to the next manufacturing cell: a bending and welding station. The laser machine determines the speed for the rest of the plant. Using a configurable digital interface, it notifies the other control units in the production cell when a part is ready. The major challenge in setting up this automated plant was to guarantee the exact positioning of workpieces for the next station. The right positioning of the cut tubes on the x and y-axis was ensured by programming the TruLaser Tube: the rotary unit on the machine tool aligns the machined component precisely at the angle required for the downstream process before the component is cut away. Positioning along the z-axis is achieved by means of a purpose-built support table which replaces the normal transport table. Driven by a servomotor, it moves the components precisely into the position required in each case. The robot picks up the machined tubes and places them into the bending and welding station with millimeter accuracy. This allows the robot cell to produce 240 frames daily, with a folding bed coming off the production line every 2 minutes.

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Monday, 15 August 2011 10:57

TRUMPF demonstration center coming to you

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In September 2011 an elaborately designed laser truck carrying a special cargo will embark on a journey across Germany. Inside, an area measuring 45 square meters will provide space for several TRUMPF work stations that can handle various industrial applications of laser processing - a demonstration center in mini-format. The focus will be on what the laser can do, as parts ranging from cylinder head gaskets to business cards are, welded and marked on the truck.

“The purpose of our road show is to bring the message home to our customers that the laser is a fascinating and highly versatile tool, delivering it directly on their own doorsteps,” affirms Jürgen Rumberger, Sales Director Laser Technology Germany at TRUMPF. The laser truck will start its tour in Hamburg, then move on to Leipzig, Jena and Gießen on its way to Bavaria, and after numerous further stops will complete its journey in the Rhine and Ruhr region.

“We hope our road show will attract interest for laser applications at firms which have not yet used the technology,” explains Rumberger. At the same time, we want to show new areas of application to our existing customers.” For this reason, the live demonstrations on the truck will be accompanied by an extensive program of presentations to provide customers with all the information they need about possible applications, new laser tool developments and low-cost production methods.

More information about the road show is available at:

Monday, 01 August 2011 09:55

TRUMPF presents its laser tools at EMO

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"Our message to EMO visitors is that the laser is a tool that offers solutions to many of the megatrends affecting society today," says Dr.-Ing. E.h. Peter Leibinger, president of TRUMPF's Laser Technology and Electronics Division, summarizing the focus of the exhibits at the company's stand in Hall 12.

Everything has been done to convey the most fascinating and exciting aspects of laser technology. Visitors to the company's eye-catching stand at the trade show will be able to test their skills in laser table football and admire outstanding examples of applications of laser technology. "The circular arrangement of the exhibits was inspired by the configuration of a CO2 laser resonator," explains Dr.-Ing. Mathias Kammüller, head of the TRUMPF Machine Tool and Power Tool division. "Their content is designed to remind visitors that lasers have an important role to play in many areas of life, including mobility, the conservation of natural resources, and health, and that they can be used to advantage in a wide variety of production activities."

Megatrend mobility
One of the laser applications of relevance to the megatrend mobility is the manufacture of battery components for electric vehicles. An example on display at the TRUMPF stand for the first time is laser-welded cell connectors for battery units. These components link the battery cells together and enable energy to flow from one cell to another. Cell connections often involve the creation of a welded copper-aluminum joint. This is a complex process in which a layer of melted copper is infiltrated and pressed into the aluminum substrate. Other areas in which laser technology can be deployed to promote emission-free mobility include the manufacture of bipolar plates for fuel-cell stacks and the cutting of high-strength materials used to reduce component weight.

Megatrend resource conservation
One particularly eye-catching exhibit is a deep-drawing tool used, for example, to manufacture B-columns for the body of a Volkswagen. A laser deposit welding technique is used to apply a hard protective coating to the surface of the tool, which is subject to intensive wear. As a result, the mold can be cast in materials more commonly used in injection molding and cooling channels can be incorporated below its surface. This efficient solution optimizes the solidification of the workpiece and reduces the cycle time per component, while at the same time significantly prolonging the life of the mold. This in turn reduces the consumption of raw materials and energy and minimizes the process's carbon footprint.

Another exhibit concerns the maintenance of safety-critical components, which normally have to be replaced as soon as the very first signs of wear are detected. Laser deposit welding permits the selective repair of areas of complex components most susceptible to damage, enabling, for instance, costly titanium turbine blades to be returned to service instead of being replaced. This efficient repair technique avoids the necessity of manufacturing new components from scratch, thus reducing the consumption of raw materials and the associated manufacturing costs.

Megatrend health
The TRUMPF TruSystem 7500 operating table system, manufactured using the company's own machines, is more than just an example of the precision that can be achieved by laser processes. This product also highlights the ecological advantages that can be obtained by deploying lasers throughout the design and manufacturing chain for sheet-metal components. Due to the limited extent of the melt pool and the low heat input associated with laser welding, the risk of distortion is significantly reduced by comparison with conventional techniques. As a result, there is rarely any need for reworking and the weld seams are exceptionally robust. Moreover, laser processing systems fully comply with the strict hygiene regulations that apply in the health sector.

All of the TRUMPF exhibits on display at EMO carry one and the same message: Lasers can be usefully integrated in a wide variety of manufacturing processes, and in every case they enhance, simplify or improve operational efficiency. It is not without reason that we have chosen "Laser up your business!" as the overriding slogan for our stand at EMO.

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The Detroit Three, The Big Three or The Domestic Three. However you refer to them, during an event last night at TRUMPF's Laser Technology Center, located near Detroit, Emmy-award winning automotive journalist, John McElroy, said, "We're back."

And he trumpets his triumph of U.S. automakers as, "The new reality."

McElroy said, "There is no question the American automotive market is almost fully competitive with any place in the world."

The popular industry expert made the remarks during his address yesterday evening to approximately 100 manufacturers and engineers who had gathered to see the latest, cutting-edge laser technology from TRUMPF, including the TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 8030, which was formally introduced to the American market during the event.

TRUMPF officials' hopes are that the machine will be a catalyst to effect change in the domestic automotive market that will help American manufacturers become fully competitive in the global arena, not "almost fully competitive," as McElroy noted during his keynote.

McElroy explained that one of the big problems of the "The Big Three" is that they produce vehicles that are heavier than their international competitors.

TRUMPF's TruLaser Cell 8030 employs laser technology to help manufacturers create products that are lighter and stronger, and are therefore more fuel efficient and safer—and on par in these areas with competitors outside of the domestic market.

"The TruLaser Cell 8030 is the ultimate machine for doing these types of processes," said Tim Morris, General Manager of TRUMPF's Laser Technology Center.

Morris described TRUMPF's TruLaser Cell 8030 as a 5-axis laser system designed specifically for laser cutting hot stamped 3D components. He said it is easily integrated into highly-productive, industrial environments—such as automotive manufacturing. Those who attended last night's event were able to see the TruLaser Cell 8030 in action cutting a hot formed automotive component.

According to McElroy, the possibilities offered by laser technology, such as that offered by TRUMPF, have the potential to revolutionize the automotive industry as design engineers discover new ways to utilize it. He cited the lasers' ability to weld closed sections and also the reduction of weld flanges, as two examples.

"Things like flanges in the vehicle's design? Well, you may not even need flanges," McElroy said.

TRUMPF is one of the world's largest producers of fabricating machinery and a world market leader in lasers used for industrial production technology. The company's North American headquarters are located in Farmington, Connecticut.

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